House Passes Capital Budget

The state House has OK’d a bipartisan capital construction budget that makes record investments in education, mental health, and environmental projects throughout Washington. Dan Frizzell from the Washington State House Democratic Caucus has that story.

The four-point-six billion dollar state construction spending plan sailed out of the House Wednesday with a 94-to-nothing vote. About a quarter of that amount, more than a billion dollars, goes to K-12 schools, and another near-billion is slated for higher-education. Efforts to address Washington’s behavioral health and substance abuse crises fare well in the budget, including new behavioral health clinics in several communities and a critical new behavioral health teaching hospital at the University of Washington. The budget also funds affordable housing developments, a multi-million-dollar rural broadband project, and orca, salmon, and clean water initiatives to the tune of half a billion dollars.  Here’s Representative Steve Tharinger, the Dungeness Democrat who chairs the House Capital Budget Committee.

THARINGER: “The individual members, they understand the needs in their community, whether that be a YMCA, a library, or a behavioral health center. So we really try to listen to the individual members and incorporate their needs into this budget because I think that strengthens our communities and that’s what we should be doing with these investments.”

The capital budget, financed largely through the sale of bonds, is now headed to the Senate, which is working on its own version. The two chambers have till April 28 to work out the differences and send a final plan to the governor. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.